Small-time Ploughing and Worms

Sal, Nuthurst Community Allotment, Feb 2021

So, we got our hands on a single furrow plough this week and we have (well, the tractor has) been enjoying dragging it up and down the land outside the glasshouse. We aren’t fans of regular ploughing but this particular bit of ground was in need of some attention; for years it has been standing out ground with plastic on top; there are no roots and it was really packed down. In order to break up the pan, we had no choice but to plough it. The next step is to take a rotavator to it in order to break up the large hunks of packed earth that the plough has turned over (massive thanks to an extremely generous local by the name of Amy who has offered to come down and work her magic with her rotavator), and then we will cover it with a shallow layer of compost (again, massive thanks to KPS and Eurogreen Environmental Ltd…for their kind donations). After this, we vow never to plough or rotavate this ground again.

This brings us to the worms. Indeed. These guys are an absolutely vital component to healthy soil. The worms perform three main tasks; they turn leaf litter into fertile soil, as they tunnel through, they aerate the soil, allowing oxygen to travel down to the plant roots and they improve drainage and thereby reduce the amount of water running off the topsoil in heavy rains. Not bad for a day’s work. Or a life’s work more accurately. The earth worms are in there somewhere and, Jonathan assures us, (“as sure as day follows night”) that the worms will come.

The two sections of earth that we are preparing in the above manner….plough, rotavate, compost…will soon be ready to accept some seeds. This is where is gets fun (well the tractor bit was fun too I’ll be honest); the core allotmenteers get to argue about what to plant first. The two beds don’t have the same access to sunshine as each other so we will have to be careful about what grows where….for an idea of our thoughts so far, see Jonathan’s blog from January entitled ‘What Shall We Grow’. It does what it says on the tin, and it does it really well.

We hope you enjoyed reading our thoughts on the matter, but thoughts are nothing without pictures so we thought we’d share some pictures with you too. Aren’t you lucky.

Need we say…. please do contact us if this is striking a cord with you.

One of the newly ploughed sections of ground (the sunnier section) outside the glasshouse……ready for the rotavator, and then the compost (waiting in a patient heap to the left).
Our single furrow plough in action.

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